Symptoms & Risks of Obesity
When it comes to obesity in the United States today, there are roughly 160 million Americans who are either obese or overweight. In fact, according to The State of Obesity, there are now seven states that exceed a 35% obesity rate, 29 states that exceed 30% and 48 states that exceed 25%. Within these percentages, the most prevalent ages for obesity are middle-aged adults to senior citizens.
Symptoms of Obesity
Symptoms of obesity can vary, but may include:
- Sudden loss of breath
- Increased sweating
- Increased snoring
- Difficulty with sudden physical activity
- Extreme exhaustion on a daily basis
- Joint pain
The main indicator of obesity is when a person’s body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher. BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight by their height. There are also BMI calculators online to help assist with computing this number.
Other Contributing Factors to Obesity
In many ways, obesity can be controlled and corrected. However, as outlined by Mayo Clinic, there are many outside factors that may contribute to this condition, such as:
- Genetics – Genetics may play a role in how efficiently your body is able to store and convert energy, as well as how it burns calories throughout the day.
- Medical Problems – Some medical conditions can lead to decreased activity or excessive weight gain, as seen in individuals with Prader-Willi syndrome, Cushing’s syndrome, arthritis and other similar medical conditions.
- Unhealthy Eating Habits – Consuming foods and beverages that are high in calories and served in oversized portions on a regular basis can also lead to quick weight gain.
- Inactivity – For individuals who are generally inactive, there is a much higher chance of becoming obese. It’s easy to take in more calories per day than are burned, so those who are more sedentary could experience significant weight gain.
- Family Lifestyle – More than genetics, many families also tend to share similar interests in their eating and activity habits. For instance, if the parents of a family are inactive or have poor diets, it’s much more likely that their children will engage in the same habits.
- Certain Medications – Some medications have side effects that include rapid weight gain. Unless this is managed with a special diet or regimented exercise, it has the potential to lead to continued weight gain, and eventually obesity.
- Age – Although obesity is present in individuals of all ages, there is a higher chance of becoming obese as age increases. As we age, our metabolisms tend to slow down and our lifestyles begin to become less active, sometimes resulting in excessive weight gain—depending on the individual.
- Pregnancy – Most pregnant women gain weight during pregnancy, and many find it difficult to lose the weight after their child is born. For some, it can lead to even more weight gain over the years.
- Quitting Smoking – A very common side effect of quitting smoking is weight gain. If left uncontrolled, it could lead to obesity over time.
- Lack of Sleep – Lack of sleep can result in hormone changes that increase appetite—especially if it happens frequently. Oftentimes cravings are for high-calorie foods and carbohydrates, which are the most common contributors to weight gain.
- Social and Economic Issues – Some people are or have become obese due to social and economic issues, such as unsafe areas to exercise, lack of healthy cooking skills, insufficient funds for healthier foods, etc. These issues can have a long-term, negative effect on a person’s weight.
Health Risks of Obesity
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, obese individuals are also at significantly higher risk for future health-related issues, including:
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Sleep apnea
- Fatty liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Complications during pregnancy